Michigan Name Search

Michigan LLC Name Search


Video Transcript:

The following information is provided for educational purposes only and in no way constitutes legal, tax, or financial advice. For legal, tax, or financial advice specific to your business needs, we encourage you to consult with a licensed attorney and/or CPA in your state. The following information is copyright protected. No part of this lesson may be redistributed, copied, modified or adapted without prior written consent of the author. In this video, we are going to teach you how to research and choose your desired LLC name. The purpose of this video is to help you: avoid infringing upon someone else’s name rights, to help you differentiate your business name from existing entities, and make sure your desired LLC name is available for use. In order to make sure your desired LLC name is available for use, you will need to search it against the existing organized entities on the State’s online database. We will first walk you through some requirements and restrictions and then later we will show you how to perform your search name requirements. Your LLC name must end with the words “Limited Liability Company”, or the abbreviations “L.L.C.” or “LLC”. Using the abbreviation “LLC” is the most common. For example, Joe wants to start a company by the name “Joe’s Landscaping Services”. Since he is forming an LLC, he must file under the name “Joe’s Landscaping Services, LLC”. Again, using the abbreviation “LLC” (or the full word “Limited Liability Company”) is a requirement when forming an LLC. Name restrictions. Your LLC name cannot imply that it is a corporation. You are not allowed to use the words “Corporation” or “Incorporated”, or the abbreviations “Corp.” or “Inc.” anywhere in your LLC name. Let’s look at our example again. Since Joe wants to form an LLC, he cannot call his company “Joe’s Landscaping Services, Inc., LLC” or “Joe’s Landscaping Services Incorporated, LLC”. Your desired LLC name must also be “distinguishable”. This means it cannot be too similar to the names of existing organized entities that are found in the results during the search of the database. We will now illustrate several examples of distinguishability, and we will provide examples you may see while performing your search. Differences in designators, which are the identifiers at the end of a business name. do not create distinguishability. Examples of designators would be “Inc.” or “Corp.” (for Corporations) and “LLC” or “L.L.C” (for Limited Liability Companies). There are other designators as well, but these are the most commonly used. For example, your desired LLC name is “Smith Investments, LLC”, but during the search of the database let’s say you found the business under the name “Smith Investments, Inc.” In this example, your desired LLC name would not be available for use. You would have to think of an alternative name that is unique and different. An example would be “Smith Financial Group, LLC”. Grammatical differences. The following do not create distinguishability: differences and variables in singular, plural, possessive forms of a word. For example, your desired LLC name is “Apple Farm, LLC”. Let’s just say during the search you found the business under the name “Apple Farms, LLC”, or let’s say you also found a business under “Apple’s Farm, LLC” (with an apostrophe s). Both of these names, although slightly different, are too similar and therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An example of an alternative name would be “Apple Orchard, LLC”. The following do not create distinguishability: differences in articles such as “A”, “An”, or “The”. For example, your desired LLC name is “Print Shop, LLC”. Let’s just say that during the search the database you found a business called the “The Print Shop, LLC”, or you found a business called “A Print Shop, LLC”. Again, although they seem different, these names are all the same in the eyes of the State, and therefore your desire LLC name would not be available for use. An alternative name would be “Printing Solutions, LLC”. The following also do not create distinguishability: the use of conjunctions such as “And”, “Or”, and the ampersand symbol. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Night & Day, LLC” with the ampersand symbol. But during your search, you find a “Night and Day, LLC”, or you found a “Night Day LLC”. Again, both of these examples are too similar, and your desired LLC name is not distinguishable and therefore not available for use. An example of an alternative name will be “Moon and Sunshine, LLC”. The following also do not create distinguishability: the use of certain punctuation such as hyphens, slashes, periods, commas, etcetera. Let’s say your desired LLC name is “Peter Paul & Mary Studios, LLC”, but during your search you found “Peter-Paul-Mary Studios, Incorporated”, or you found a “Peter, Paul, and Mary Studios, Incorporated”. Again, both of these examples are too similar, and therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An alternative example would be “PPM Productions, LLC”. Alphanumeric: differences in numerical, or written numbers does not create distinguishability. For example, let’s say your desired LLC name is “Three Teachers Consulting, LLC” (with a number “three” spelled out), but during your search of the database you found a company called “3 Teachers Consulting, LLC” (with the number “3”). Again, these are deceptively similar; the State does not look at these as any different and therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An alternative example would be “A Few Good Teachers Consulting, LLC”. Deceptively similar names that are too similar to existing organized entities also do not create distinguishability. For example, your desired LLC name is “Speedy Delivery Services, LLC”, but during your search let’s say you find “Speed Delivery Services, LLC”, or you find a “Super Speedy Delivery Services, LLC”. Again, these names are too similar. Therefore your desired LLC name would not be available for use. An example of an alternative name would be “At Your Door Quick, LLC”. Takeaways: as you can see, just filing the paperwork with your desired LLC name is not as straightforward as you may have originally thought. The most important takeaways from showing you all these examples are as follows: it’s important to make sure your name is truly unique and not too similar to the names of existing organized entities; if your desired LLC name is unavailable for use, either by its exact match already being used, or by it being too similar to an existing name, we recommend using some creativity and coming up with a variation of your original LLC name, so that the name is now unique and is “distinguishable”, and stands apart from other businesses. Some additional tips to think of when creating your LLC name are: Make your LLC name easy to spell. You want to make sure people can find you when they’re looking for you. Make your LLC name short. Shorter names are easier for people to remember. Make your LLC name have a positive connotation. Leave people with a good feeling when they hear about your business. You are now ready to search your desired LLC name against the State’s online database. We showed you a number of examples where the desired LLC names were not available for use, but don’t worry. In the next part of this video, we will provide plenty of examples of names that are available for use, so that you can best understand the database and the results that you see. Let’s head over to the State’s online database. The link below this video will take you there. Here we are at the State’s online database. Michigan has an intelligent database that is very easy to use. You’re simply going to enter the name of your desired LLC name here. under the word “Type”, you’re going to select “LC” which for their database term stands for a Limited Liability Company, and then click the search button. let’s look at a few examples. Let’s start with names that you can use. Let’s say that your desired LLC name was “Chocolate Cupcake Factory, LLC”. We’re going to search the database not using the designator “LLC”, and instead just enter the words “chocolate cupcake factory”. Let’s head over to the database and give it a search. I’m going to enter “chocolate cupcake factory” after the word “Name” (it will automatically capitalize it), and I’m going to go down, select “LC” and click “Search”. What we’re looking for is in this area to the right of the word “Results”. It says “NO CONFLICTS FOUND”. That means that this name is available for use. Down here where it says “Required Word” and it says you need “Limited Liability Company, LLC” held up, we’ve covered all that earlier. It’s just reminding you to make sure you include that in the official name of your LLC. Again, because the results said “NO CONFLICTS FOUND”, this is good news. Your desired LLC name is available for use. Let’s look at another example. Let’s say your desired LLC name was “Michigan Abandoned Cars, LLC”. Let’s search the database for “Michigan abandoned cars”. I’m going to go back to the database and I’m going to click “New Search” at the bottom. I’m going to enter the words here, then I’m going to select “LLC” and click “Search”. At the results, we have no conflicts found. So because of “NO CONFLICTS FOUND”, the name is truly unique, and therefore our desired LLC name is available for use. Let’s look at some examples of names that are not available for use. Let’s say that your desired LLC name was “Michigan Access, LLC”. Let’s go ahead and search the database for “Michigan access”. I’m going to click “New Search” at the bottom and I’m going to type “Michigan access” after “Name”, select “LC”, and click “Search”. You can see here where it says results “NAME NOT AVAILABLE”, and over here where it says “Display Conflict”, if I click on that, it will actually show me the reason why. It’s because there’s an existing corporation (“Michigan Access, Inc.”). Again, because there was a conflict found, and there’s already an existing business by the name of “Michigan Access, Inc.”, although our name has the letters “LLC”, unfortunately these names are not distinguishable, and therefore the desired LLC name would not be available for use. Let’s look at 1 more example. Let’s say your desired LLC name was “Great Lakes Properties, LLC”. Let’s search the database for “great lakes properties”. At the bottom here, I’m going to hit “New Search”, the “great lakes properties” here, select “LC”, hit “Search”. Results: “NAME NOT AVAILABLE”. Looks there’s a conflict with this 1 as well, so we can hit “Display Conflict”. On this page, you’ll see that there is actually an identical existing Limited Liability Company called “Great Lakes Properties, LLC”, and obviously because we found an identical named “Great Lakes Property, LLC”, therefore our name is definitely not distinguishable and it is not available for use. In summary, if you have any questions about the database, or if you’re unsure if your desired LLC name is available for use, you can call the State at the number below this video. Once you do find a name that is unique and distinguishable from existing businesses, you can then proceed to the next step. This now concludes the Name Research Lesson.

State’s Online Database

http://www.michigan.gov/nameavailability

Need to save time? Hire a professional to form your LLC in Michigan:
IncFile ($49 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee).

Restricted Words for Michigan LLC’s

Certain words are “restricted” and require certain approval. Please see this PDF provided by the state:
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/restrict_528154_7.pdf

Next Step

After you’ve found an available LLC name, you can then proceed to the next lesson: LLC Filing Forms.

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Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator at LLC University
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! We teach LLC formation for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your entrepreneurial journey.
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